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The Sci-Fi Boys
The Sci-Fi Boys
Actors: Peter Jackson, Ray Harryhausen, Leonard Maltin, Forrest J Ackerman, John Landis
Director: Paul Davids
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy
UR     2006     1hr 20min

Peter Jackson, George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, John Landis, Dennis Muren, Ray Bradbury, Rick Baker, Roger Corman, Ray Harryhausen and other legendary all-stars of cinema bring to life the evolution of science-fiction and s...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Peter Jackson, Ray Harryhausen, Leonard Maltin, Forrest J Ackerman, John Landis
Director: Paul Davids
Creators: Alex Scott, Chris Toussaint, Michael Stuart, Paul Davids, Hollace Davids, Scott M. Davids
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy
Sub-Genres: Science Fiction
Studio: Universal Studios
Format: DVD - Full Screen - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 05/16/2006
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 1hr 20min
Screens: Full Screen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, French

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Member Movie Reviews

Jeff V. (burielofmel) from HARRIMAN, TN
Reviewed on 8/18/2008...
If you grew up in the 50s-80s and like horror movies and / or read Famous Monsters magazine, you'll find this documentary enjoyable. Especially if you were a fan of Famous Monsters of Filmland. Lots of bonus material.
2 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

Worth a look . . .
Mark | Little Falls, NJ United States | 06/30/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Screenwriter Paul Davids (who wrote the "Roswell" TV movie and several "Transformers" episodes) made this documentary about those who found success in science fiction film production after being inspired by Forest Ackerman's "Famous Monsters of Filmland" magazine and the works of master stop-motion animator Ray Harryhausen. Interviewees are Ackerman and Harryhausen themselves, along with Davids, Peter Jackson, Rick Baker, Stan Winston, Dennis Muren, and Steven Speilberg, and Harryhausen contemporaries Roger Corman, Ray Bradbury, Bob Burns, and others. The film features a great deal of not-especially-interesting amateur 8mm efforts of Davids and his cronies, along with clips of many classic films of the period. The disc is non-anamorphic full frame.

The film is a clearly heartfelt paean by Davids to Ackerman, Harryhausen and those that followed. The interviews are informative (especially the always candid Corman) and shots of the sci-fi film artifacts salvaged by Burns and others are priceless. The picture closes with Davids, bearing one of the original Martian war machine props, escorting the then 86 year old Ackerman to George Pal's grave on the anniversary of Pal's death. It's a well handled moment that could have been unintentionally maudlin.

The main drawback to the disc is that the presentation as a whole comes off as under-funded and technically unaccomplished. Little to no effort has been made to clean-up the film clips used, some appear sourced from multi-generational VHS tapes. The extras section also has a number of disc authoring problems, with some of the interviews truncated in mid-sentence. Unfortunately, someone has also added a silly, pompous, basso-profundo narration track at certain points of the picture (the King Kong trailer being one example), that detracts from the overall tone and adds a note of insincerity into the proceedings.

All in all though, it's still worth a watch, if this era of genre film-making and the people behind it means anything to you at all.
Karen Shaub | the inner reaches of the outer limits | 06/14/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"In memory of Forrest j Ackerman who died in early December 2008 of congestive heart failure. You will be missed, Uncle Forry.

This loving little documentary opens with an introduction by Peter Jackson one of the many famous film makers interviewed and perhaps the most passionate. It seems somehow appropriate to open with his closing remark which is a quote from a song by Fran Walsh written for RETURN OF THE KING:

"Dream of those that came before
They're calling from across the distant shore..."

This is how Jackson sees the Sci-Fi Boys, as calling to us from afar to come join them in their strange, mystical worlds filled with adventure and monsters and things of which we mundanes dare not dream. Above all THE SCI-FI BOYS is a love letter to these three guys who made it all possible through their own love of the genre; esteemed science fiction author Ray Bradbury, special effects genius Ray Harryhausen, and most of all to one Forest j Ackerman known affectionately for the past 6 decades as Uncle Forry to readers of "Famous Monsters of Filmland" which he edited.

There are genuinely touching moments when the stars pay tribute to The Boys, such as when special effects wizard Ray Harryhausen is to receive his Lifetime Achievement Award at the Oscars' ceremony and Tom Hanks introduces him by saying," Some people say CASABLANCA or CITIZEN KANE, I say JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS is the greatest film ever made." And who could disagree with him in their heart of hearts?

There are numerous segments in which people such as Spielberg, Lucas, make-up and special effects artists Rick Baker and Steve Johnson, Donald Glut, Dennis Muren (himself the winner of 8 Oscars in his capacity as Special Visual Efects Supervisor at Industrial Light and Magic), and others too numerous to mention sing the praises of Uncle Forry and relate how when they were only little tykes Forry's magazine not only first got them started in film making, but also encouraged them to keep going when things got rough.

My favorite segment is John Landis telling how back when he was a kid only the geeks used to make these little home movies with their friends and how nobody wanted to hang around with them. And as he's telling this story it turns into a cute, animated geeky-John Landis telling the story. It was very clever, a real highlight for me. Another highlight is a bit of animation from Willis O'Brien (who did the original KING KONG)that I'd never seen before involving a caveman and his domesticated dinosaur.

The down side to the film is that the producers tend to put the spotlight on themselves a bit too much. While looking at their childhood films is fun, it would have been more interesting if they could have including more films from other tween and teen film makers of the same vintage. Another negative is uncaptioned photos in the stills gallery. One was a picture of Forry in the first costume ever worn at the first World Con. I knew what it was but without advance knowledge the photo wouldn't have registered with readers at all. Many other pix have people in them whose identities you must surmise. Another negative is that the "tour" of the Ackermansion is far from extensive. I had the good fortune to visit Forry in the early 90s and thus know how impressive the colection really was. But the pluses here outweigh the minuses for any fan of the genre. There are clips and quotes from all sorts of interesting characters as I've already said, including Roger Corman and little "Stevie" King who sent Forry his first short story at the age of 12 or 13.

Great for everyone -
Shelley Hachman | 08/26/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"We watched this film with our kids. It was entertaining and we all learned a lot about where this industry has come from. I think it turned out to be an important piece for my 3 kids who have grown up with complex CGI and special effects. They really got to see where it has all come from. It didn't start with computers and didn't always look seamless, but boy did people have fun and they were passionate about it!

A very important part of watching this documentary was sharing that this is an art form that anyone could enjoy and participate in. You didn't have to go to school and learn all about computers. This it was what you and your buddies could do it after school in your own back yard! All you needed was a camera, a little allowance or lawn mowing money, and some imagination!

One of the things that I loved was today's film makers talking about when they were kids. You could hear how excited they were waiting for the next issue of 'Famous Monsters' or trying out their next home movie project; from making sets to trying to design their own Wolfman makeup.

I think the other person who wrote a review summed it up nicely that this film is a tribute to Ray Harryhausen and Forest Ackerman, and also the writers in the genre. These are the pioneers of the industry who are names are not known to most people today.

What's been captured in this documentary is something for the next generation of film makers to see, and hopefully 'catch the bug'from! Maybe they will want to dig out their parents cameras; to make dinosaurs move across the living room floor, make space man land in the back yard or have creatures come to life in the lab.

I don't think it matters if you're 10 or 40, this documentary is definitely worth watching. If you have kids who are movie buffs - it a good one to own, they will want rewatch it."